Christian Noack at the Thermal Tourism Congress in Ourense (Galicia), 27-30 September
News from Oct 17, 2022
In the last days of September, the local authorities and the province of Galicia, together with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Council of Europe and the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) hosted a Thermal Tourism Congress and the 20th International Exhibition of Thermal Tourism, Health and Wellness in the Galician town of Ourense, a town famous the large number of hot springs it possesses.
As a token for appreciation, the mayor of the Ukrainian Spa town of Truskavets, Andriy Kulchynsky, was invited to open the congress. On behalf of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association, Kulchynsky was awarded with a complimentary membership. Truskavets will thus participate in the thermal Cultural Routes project of the Council of Europe, too.
The very interesting congress programme accommodated, on the one hand, academic papers on place of thermal interest and spa heritage. These included reports about the endangered Romanian Spa of Băile Herculane in Romania and on the revitalization of spa complexes outside of Europe, like Saratoga Springs in the state of New York or the Sidi Harazem thermal bath complex near Fez, Marocco. On the other hand, the participants discussed international experiences of managing and marketing of Spas and wellness resorts. For the European Spa project, Christian Noack contributed a paper on Spa Culture and Intangible Heritage for one of the workshops at the conference. Moreover, the project’s traveling exhibition was on display at the Termatalia fair.
During the second day of the conference, the participants gained interesting insides into how the spa as a public space is contested at the moment in Ourense. On the congress, local stakeholders presented plans for converting the Provincial Palace, a former textile factory, into Balnerio Auria,a high-class spa hotel. The next day, in front of the conference venue, a group of local campaigners protested against the fencing off of publicly accessible hot springs and pools along the banks of the river Minho near the town.